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Should Michelle Carter have been charged?

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Should Michelle Carter have been charged?
Post by cthia   » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:23 am

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"OMG! Uncle, this bozo at Uni keeps asking me out. As if! I keep telling him 'Jump off of a bridge!' What if he does?!"

I've got my own problems honey. Several of my friends are in a play tonight. I told them to break a leg. How much does a leg cost anyways?

A judge’s sentencing of a 20-year-old Massachusetts woman who urged her boyfriend via text to carry out his suicide may have showed leniency but should not have happened at all, legal experts told USA TODAY.

Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz sentenced Michelle Carter to 2 ½ years in prison on a charge of involuntary manslaughter Thursday, but Carter will only serve 15 months of that. She was convicted in June in the 2014 suicide of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his truck with Carter’s encouragement via text messaging.

When Carter was convicted in June, legal experts expressed concern that the case could set a new legal precedent in which words, and not just actions, are deemed to cause death. It was the conviction and not the sentencing that caused that concern for Daniel Medwed, professor of law and criminal justice at the Northeastern University School of Law.

“This idea that words can kill is a very controversial one because the criminal law typically punishes physical action. … The drunk driver who plows into somebody or a person who shoots a gun, where you’re consciously disregarding a huge risk,” Medwed said.
 
Medwed said he never believed it should have been a manslaughter case. “I think Massachusetts needs a specific statute that criminalizes encouraging or coercing suicide,” he added.
 
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts agreed that the case against Carter was not one of manslaughter and expressed anger that the sentencing further sets a dangerous example.

“Mr. Roy’s death is an unspeakable tragedy, and our deepest sympathies are with his family and friends; but while Mr. Roy’s death is truly devastating, it is not a reason to stretch the boundaries of our criminal laws or abandon the protections of our constitution,” Matthew Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement.

“There is no law in Massachusetts making it a crime to persuade someone to commit suicide,” Segal said. “And there should not be any sentence handed down against Ms. Carter for involuntary manslaughter because her conviction for that crime is improper. It exceeds the limits of our criminal laws and violates free speech protections guaranteed by the Massachusetts and U.S. Constitutions.”

Regarding the sentencing, Medwed said his impression was that the judge was trying to make sure that Carter, then 17, served time near her home by assigning her to a county and not state facility.

“One interpretation of that is perhaps the judge was thinking that it would be good to keep her close to her support network,” the law professor said.

For juveniles, the purpose of the penal system is to rehabilitate not punish, he said. He pointed out that the judge could have imposed a sentence of up to 20 years if he wanted.
“I think the judge relied a lot on the fact that she was a juvenile when she committed this crime,” Medwed said.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Should Michelle Carter have been charged?
Post by munroburton   » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:24 am

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Yes. This is obviously not a case of a joke gone wrong, or someone telling an annoying suitor to go away.

This is someone apparently seriously telling their significant other to "get back in" a truck filling with exhaust fumes. Imagine saying that to yours. Awful.

The idea that words can kill - of course they can kill! Every single general in history has killed with words, rarely with their own hands on an actual weapon.
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Re: Should Michelle Carter have been charged?
Post by cthia   » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:31 am

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munroburton wrote:Yes. This is obviously not a case of a joke gone wrong, or someone telling an annoying suitor to go away.

This is someone apparently seriously telling their significant other to "get back in" a truck filling with exhaust fumes. Imagine saying that to yours. Awful.

The idea that words can kill - of course they can kill! Every single general in history has killed with words, rarely with their own hands on an actual weapon.

I don't think that is fair to the general who may have felt that he simply had to give those orders even though he knew those orders would kill, or fair to those that were following his orders. The words of the general were not any less persuasive than the oath given to the military.

What about all of the officers who followed Elvis Santino to a senseless grave? They must have known they were going to die following an idiot, yet they did not refuse his orders as Andrea Jaruwalski did.

Anywho, that is a horse of a different color than the words of a single entity not tied to an ideal. An ideal other than love that is.

Many people have threatened to kill themselves, and did, for the sake of, in the name of, love.

"If you break it off with me Juliet, I will kill myself!"

"Go ahead! Kill yourself!"

"Bang! Bang! To my head! The wicked witch has killed me? I'm dead."

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Should Michelle Carter have been charged?
Post by Annachie   » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:00 am

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I'm really unsure about this one.

I think the conviction is wrong because I doubt there was intent on her part, or any expectation on her part that he would.

In saying that I admit we are lacking information. (that I can't be bothered hunting up)
Especially, and specifically, any ongoing or malicious nature to her message.

Telling someone to "Fuck off and die" once differs from telling them to "Fuck off and die" daily.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
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You are so going to die. :p ~~~~ runsforcelery
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still not dead. :)
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Re: Should Michelle Carter have been charged?
Post by munroburton   » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:14 am

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I do not mean to impugn(or honor) any of those unnamed generals. It is simple fact that orders have killed. (When I said general there, I was using it in the widest possible, Sun Tzu sense - to include politicians, leaders, etc. as well)

The 'Juliet' scenario you laid out is obviously different - the suicider was attempting to hold themselves hostage in order to force acceptance of an ultimatium. And even in those situations, it'd be inappropriate to say "Kill yourself!" with serious intent. It'd be acceptable to say "No, I won't be your hostage. Do as you will." even if this resulted in their death anyway. There is no intent to cause death in the latter.

My reading of what little I can find of the Michelle Carter case is that the dead guy essentially said "I don't want to kill myself anymore" and she said "too bad, get it done." That shouldn't be acceptable.

I understand if there might be disagreement. This is free speech territory and 'shouting "There's a fire!" in a crowded theatre' is an old example of how the power of free speech could be misused. This is a new one and complicated by the usage of technology. Freedom is not the absence of responsibility.
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Re: Should Michelle Carter have been charged?
Post by cthia   » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:27 am

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As an early reminder in this thread, let us not forget that ex post facto laws are not permitted in the United States.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Should Michelle Carter have been charged?
Post by cthia   » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:11 am

cthia
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Annachie wrote:I'm really unsure about this one.

I think the conviction is wrong because I doubt there was intent on her part, or any expectation on her part that he would.

In saying that I admit we are lacking information. (that I can't be bothered hunting up)
Especially, and specifically, any ongoing or malicious nature to her message.

Telling someone to "Fuck off and die" once differs from telling them to "Fuck off and die" daily.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

Well Annachie, to be honest, I'm not sure at all about her true intentions. But even if her intentions were to kill him, could she legally be charged under the U.S.'s present laws?

If I actually hated someone and wanted them dead, I just can't see how I could legally be charged if every day that I saw that person I told them to "Please kill yourself already!" Even if done vehemently. If the idiot is so impressionable, how can I be the blame for that? I don't have any mutant powers of persuasion. Nor did Michelle Carter.

Now, there does seem to be some mitigating circumstances. The boy reportedly was unhappy with life, didn't want to live and was depressed and had attempted suicide several times and had conveyed all of this information to his gf. He basically conveyed to his gf that life was emotionally killing him. He was also taking a drug that caused severe depression. Yet the facts are that the woman is a juvenile and the victim was an adult, at 18. Can a juvenile truly twist an adults' arm with words? If that is the case, many teachers would certainly be dead. She reminds me of Jack Kevorkian in a way.

Annachie wrote:Telling someone to "Fuck off and die" once differs from telling them to "Fuck off and die" daily.


But why? Can I tell them twice? Three times? What is the arbitrary limit?

headlines wrote:Michelle Carter Sentenced to Two and a Half Years for Egging Boyfriend on to Kill Himself
Was that a dozen eggs? Two dozen eggs? What is the arbitrary limit?

Of course, I shouldn't bother to tell my niece that at least one person feels that she shouldn't tell the guy to jump off of a bridge daily. Yet daily he seems to ask her out she says.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Should Michelle Carter have been charged?
Post by dscott8   » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:05 am

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I see this as a case of incitement, with parallels to the sort of people who use social media to radicalize others, encouraging them to take violent actions. This woman deliberately picked on her victim's vulnerability, knowing what the consequences could be.
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Re: Should Michelle Carter have been charged?
Post by Fireflair   » Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:19 am

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Minor knit: Andrea didn't disobey Santino's orders. She did exactly her duty, to provide him with the best tactical analysis she could. She tried to actively talk him out of suicide, which was her responsibility. He's the one who was dead set on killing himself and his entire command. When he ordered her off the ship, she left, if under guard.

As for the case against Carter, I feel that this does start down a very slippery slope. There are laws in various places against verbal harassment, such as repeatedly telling some one to go 'kill themselves' or variants there upon. But when some one kills themselves, suicide is their choice, not something that was forced upon them, in my opinion. They might be under lots of pressure, have depression or drugs or whatever. Lots of factors, yes, but unless you can establish a solid chain of repeated urgings to commit suicide which reach harassment levels, I don't think some one should be charged for this.

It's illegal to shout 'fire' in a theatre because of the danger to people when the masses stampede out. It's also illegal to threaten a judge, congressman or the president with death. (I'm sure that the Secret Service is working over time at the moment dealing with the threats to Trump) There are reasons and balances between free speech and taking responsibility for the results of your words.

In Watts v. US Government, the Supreme Court ruled that there must be a difference between hyperbole and a genuine threat. That seems reasonable. If a person shows the intent, will and ability to carry out a threat then prosecute. The same standard would seem applicable to Carter's case. If she harassed him every single day to go kill himself, than she would be culpable. If not, well, let it go.
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